Journal of Commerce quotes Jim Burnley on HTF funding proposal

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Venable partner and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Jim Burnley was quoted in a February 26, 2014 Journal of Commerce article on the Obama Administrations efforts to increase surface transportation funding through corporate tax reform. Last week, the president proposed a four-year, $302 billion transportation infrastructure funding plan which includes $63 billion for the Highway Transportation Fund (HTF) which provides funding for highway spending.

Funding for the president’s plan depends on Congress addressing corporate tax reform, something considering unlikely in an election year. While reform might not be likely this year, Burnley said “the new Congress, fresh from the midterm elections in November, could have an appetite to take on reform.”

Currently, 90 percent of the HTF is provided by an 18.4-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax and 24.4-cents-per-gallon diesel tax which has not increased since 1993 and inflation has cut about seven cents from the taxes’ buying power. While there does not appear to be much support for increasing the gas tax, Congress is considering options including replacing the gas tax with a sales tax, injecting money from the general fund, or letting the HTF go bust until corporate tax reform is addressed. “I fear that is what could happen,” said Burnley referring to Congress letting the HTF go insolvent.